Profile for Hillpaul > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Hillpaul
Top Reviewer Ranking: 44,879
Helpful Votes: 239

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Hillpaul (West Sussex, GB)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
pixel
Last Orders (War That Came Early (Del Rey Hardcover))
Last Orders (War That Came Early (Del Rey Hardcover))
by Harry Turtledove
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 14.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Counterfactuals being a favourite since my Uni Tutor showed me their value as ..., 24 July 2014
Came to this after reading Evans' Altered Pasts, Counterfactuals being a favourite since my Uni Tutor showed me their value as education as well as entertainment. Like the esteemed Turtledove I am a (modest) student of Byzantine history so on top of the usual rattling read, I nearly choked on my sherry when the junior Russian officers Obolensky and Ostrogorsky turned up; well done Harry. I reckon if you're ever in Sussex I owe Turtledove a drink for the entertainment and Turtletaub another to learn from a basilikoi anthropoi


Harald Hardrada: The Warrior's Way
Harald Hardrada: The Warrior's Way
Price: 17.16

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Harald Hardrad, 5 Nov 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Fascinating. Full of little vignettes, the young Harald picking toy soldiers over his brothers more agrarian choices, St. Olaf looking at the boy and warning that the man would be vengeful. It puts 11thC Scandinavian influence back at the heart of the Europena narrative and my favourite; what become of his battle standard, the Land-Reaver


A New History of the Peloponnesian War
A New History of the Peloponnesian War
Price: 23.03

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kagan-New History of the Peloponnesian War, 24 Aug 2013
Magisterial and comprehensive. not necessarily for the reader new to the subject, but you are held by the hand as the author guides you through the landscape of hamartia, hubris, ate and nemesis. Eerily reminiscent of modern politics.


The Last Human Cannonball: And Other Small Journeys in Search of Great Men
The Last Human Cannonball: And Other Small Journeys in Search of Great Men
Price: 3.44

5.0 out of 5 stars The Last Human Cannonbal, 8 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As always a pleasure to read Byron Rogers, I would get the papers specifically to read him, so another collection of his essays is welcome. All comparisons are invidious, but the nearest I can think of is Bill Bryson, but the indie version. Buy it and the others if you want a slice of idiosyncracy with a side order of quirkiness


BiC Disposable Fountain Pen (Box of 12) - Blue
BiC Disposable Fountain Pen (Box of 12) - Blue
Price: 19.19

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bic pens, 21 April 2013
I was expecting fine nibs for fancy scribbling, but these'll do for everyday office work. You don't have to worry about keeping a bottle of quink to hand.


Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944--45
Nemesis: The Battle for Japan, 1944--45
by Max Hastings
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.69

5.0 out of 5 stars NEMESIS - MAX HASTINGS, 28 Jan 2010
Like most people I would imagine, my knowledge of the Second World War is mostly confined to the Eurasian and North African theatres and is shamefully threadbare when it comes to other areas. This is a book to correct such deficiencies; I have read Keegan who is excellent on the set-piece naval battles but this gives an overview of what, for many of the servicemen involved, was the forgotten conflict.
All-encompassing, from India, the Philippines, Russia and China, it also follows the course of what is traditionally seen as primarily an American conflict as they seemed determined to keep as much of the struggle under their control as possible. Given their industrial capacity (they started the war in the Pacific with four carriers and finished with a hundred), they did most of the fighting, but this book is a timely reminder of the suffering endured across the entire region by millions.
It is also good at illuminating the feet of clay possessed by some of the leading personalities, from Mountbatten and Mao to MacArthur amongst others whose scheming and posing cost more lives than were necessary. For the British there were the creaking signs of overstretch that the war had created, the Chinese never fulfilled their potential, the Americans suffered from compartmentalised tactical thinking and interservice struggles, the Japanese reaped the grinding defeat and humiliation that their tenacity and brutality created the determination for in the Allied mindset and the Russians waited cynically in the wings determined not to endure as much loss of manpower as they had suffered in the West. The poor, poor civilians, complicit or not were the ones who suffered the most.
Very good on individual campaigns, the forgotten ones like Burma or the more well-publicised ones like Iwo Jima and highlighting the highs and lows with a wealth of reference and the personal anecdotes from all sides that bring home the completely different world that fought this struggle.


Sites of Antiquity: From Ancient Egypt to the Fall of Rome, 50 Sites That Explain the Classical World (Blue Guides)
Sites of Antiquity: From Ancient Egypt to the Fall of Rome, 50 Sites That Explain the Classical World (Blue Guides)
by Charles Freeman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 21.60

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SITES OF ANTIQUITY: FROM ANCIENT EGYPT TO THE FALL OF ROME, 50 SITES THAT EXPLAIN THE CLASSICAL WORLD (BLUE GUIDES (NORTON)), 11 Dec 2009
Apart from my passport the only other thing that has gone around the world with me has been a Blue Guide. There are other guidebooks that will give you better, cheaper or groovier places to eat and sleep but a Blue Guide is like Kipling's six honest serving men. Having said that though this isn't one that you would stuff in your knapsack. This is the luxury planning version that you may want to flip the pages on, peering through your monocle whilst reclining languidly on your chaise-longue. Unlike my dog-eared Blue Guides with their extensive marginalia, I will endeavour to keep this in the pristine condition I received it in. An excellent overview of the Classical world, it does a very good job of linking the major sites. The only caveat I have is that unlike the traditional Blue Guides the number of site maps/architectural illustrations is minimal, but don't let that put you off


The Making of Orthodox Byzantium, 600-1025 (New Studies in Medieval History)
The Making of Orthodox Byzantium, 600-1025 (New Studies in Medieval History)
by Mark Whittow
Edition: Paperback
Price: 24.26

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE MAKING OF ORTHODOX BYZANTIUM, 17 Aug 2009
Given the critical importance of the seventh century to the survival and development of the Empire, the number of books covering it is shockingly few. This one goes a long way to redressing the balance by providing an overview of the collapse of the Roman superpower and its transformation into a Byzantine regional power able to punch well above its weight.
Instead of focussing on the world view from Constantinople (where even at the metropolitan centre, literary sources are few) he uses archaeological evidence to build up a regional picture. The origins of Russia, events in the Balkans, the Transcaucasus and relations with the Ummayids and then the Abbasids are all explored to put the Byzantine world in its geopolitical context.
He starts with an analysis of the later Roman Empire of the East, showing how how an essentially healthy state with access to fertile agricultural land (whose resources were necessary to support any state with ambitions) was brought to the brink of collapse by the time of the last Persian war. Its retreat, consolidation, victory and collapse and the dramatic reordering of the Middle Eastern world due to the Islamic irruption, contraction and adaptation are all neatly explored.
The chapters that follow show the resilience and inventiveness of the Empire. Taxation, development of alternative agricultural and consumer commodities (the switch from oil to candles for domestic lighting) and military reorganisation are among those explored. Even the losses could be glossed over, enabling the Constantinoplean view to permeate society without worrying about the heretical East after a collective bout of soul-searching through the Iconoclastic Crisis. After all, if God had allowed a people whose strict adherence to the Second Commandment to prosper at their expense, then perhaps to win his favour back they should adhere more strictly to it themselves, following a religious version of the Stockholm syndrome.
The last chapters highlight the opportunities afforded by a weakened Caliphate after years of being on the back foot and the evolution into the earlier mentioned regional power that Byzantium had become, reaching its apogee under Basil II.
From the perspective of either the beginner or keen student of Byzantium, a flawless read. Lucid, very, very well illustrated with maps and able to bring together all the different pieces to create one of the best pictures of this under explored periods I have read


The Byzantine Wars
The Byzantine Wars
by John Haldon
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.99

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE BYZANTINE WARS, 17 Aug 2009
This review is from: The Byzantine Wars (Paperback)
A populist history of the military successes and failures of the Empire in less than 200 pages charting the evolution and development of battle tactics. Populist on this occasion is a positive rather pejorative term as this book relies heavily on illustration and less on literary sources to outline its theme. Topographical maps and military plans show the key victories and defeats, distilling a great deal of information into snapshots of the Empire's history with a bibliography at the end of each chapter for the reader to follow up at their leisure.
He outlines the development of the army showing the shifts in its emphasis, from infantry to cavalry, garrison and siege-craft and highlights the central area of weakness as the absence (in the Byzantine rather than the Roman army) of an NCO class which could have obviated the worst excesses and faults of bad generalship.
A good book as many others covering Byzantine history singularly lack the useful adjunct of good mapping as part of the illustrative process


The English Rebel: One Thousand Years of Trouble-making from the Normans to the Nineties
The English Rebel: One Thousand Years of Trouble-making from the Normans to the Nineties
by David Horspool
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 19.59

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE ENGLISH REBEL, 13 Aug 2009
A smashing read. This is almost `Our Island History' for the seriously vexed and inordinately peeved. With all due respect to our Irish, Scots and Welsh cousins, the English have been fighting against our own government longer than anybody else. This fast paced book is a potted history of the growth of English government and the attempts to keep it under control from Norman times to the nineties. It shows the development of opposition to government from the self-interest of the barons to the appealing to the higher power that monarchy claimed through to right of the ordinary man in the street to have his voice heard. The common thread of the rebel is the `commonwealth' or ` community, the rebellions of the Reformation, the Peasants revolt or Magna Carta to name but a few of the revolts that would make you believe that this country is a seething mass of discontent ready to erupt at any time (which in a way it has). Equally good at pointing out examples of how chance and opportunity play there part in events, Horspool also points to a geographic continuity that certain areas have, such as Clerkenwell in London, in drawing in rebels. The other area of continuity that he points to is that of example. Rebels always appeal to past examples, whether it was the poll tax rioters of the nineties casting back to the Peasants Revolt or the appeals to Magna Carta that even the Americans appealed to in their revolt (after all, they regarded themselves as Britons living in America with a direct link to the English political past. That's why there's a mural of Simon de Montfort in the House of Representatives). Perhaps that's why the English have a reputation for being so well-mannered. We have to keep that seething mass of emotion in check to stop ourselves from running amok!


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4